By Sophia Chiappa
November 13th is Remembrance Day, celebrated since the end of World War One in honour of those who lost their lives. Today the poppy flower is the notorious symbol worn as a symbol of solidarity and commemoration. Despite the melancholic weight the flower now carries, the story behind how the poppy came to hold such a position is rather a beautiful one – at least in my eyes.
During the numerous gruesome battles of the war, the beautiful fields of Europe suffered destruction which rendered them a stark contrast to what they were before: dismal and infertile. Bright red poppies however blossomed amidst the chaos: though delicate they were powerful and continued to grow, flourishing despite the conditions.
They inspired J. McCrae’s now famous poem ‘In Flanders Fields.’ This in turn inspired and American academic to make and sell red silk recreations of the flowers which were then ought over to England. The Royal British Legion ordered 9 million of these poppies, which sold out almost immediately, raising £106,000 (a lot of money for the time) which became funding for WWI veterans, to help with employment and housing.
The poppy is still the symbol of Remembrance Day in all the participating nations, one that is worn with great pride, solidarity and in support of all those who have lost their lives or are still serving. Though it is not compulsory to wear one, it is greatly appreciated as are all donations made to the British Legion, which continues to support the Armed Services.
The Poppy Appeal, made every November is still in fact their biggest fundraiser. This is unquestionably such an important charity that we must continue to support. There are numerous events hosted throughout England to aide the British Legion and the Poppy Appeal, all of which are listed on their website. But if you’re going to participate in one way then make it a donation, even just a £1, to buy a poppy, pin it to your shirt and wear it with pride to commemorate the Armed Services.
Visit http://www.britishlegion.org.uk to make a donation